Office 365 Multi-Geo Part03 (Configuring)

This is the part 03 of this article series where we will be going through the technical part of enabling Multi-Geo in Office 365.

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Part 1: Get Started

Part 2: Planning and recommendation

Part 3: Configuration

Let’s ensure that we have the following in place before get started.

  1. Office 365 Multi-geo capability is added to the tenant. As the introductory article stated, this capability is a user-level service plan that is optional for you to add. If you have worked closely with your account team this might be all set to go by now.
  2. Test users created and are ready to use.

If you have enabled the Multi-geo, a new tab call “Geo Location Tab” should now appear under the settings in SharePoint and OneDrive admin panels.

To add new geo locations, open the SharePoint admin center –>
Navigate to the Geo locations tab. Click Add location –> Select the location that you want to add, and then click Next –>
Type the domain that you want to use with the geo location, and then click Add –> click Close.

Every new location that you add here are called “satellite locations

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If everything went well, you will receive an email notification in few hours after provisioning. It could take up to 72 hours which is up to the size of your tenant.

As the new geo location appears in blue on the map on the Geo locations tab in the OneDrive admin center, you can proceed to set users’ preferred data location to that geo location. Usually a new satellite location comes with the default settings, it gives you the freedom of localizing as per your compliance needs.

After you enabling the satellite locations, it is recommended to set the preferred Data Location (PDL) for every user in the directory. In Azure AD there are two types of identities as Cloud and Synchronized. You have to follow the right instructions to deal with each of them when it comes to setting PDL.

Setting PDL for cloud only users (Azure Users)

User objects that are not synchronized from a local AD are the cloud ones. You have to use Microsoft Azure AD PowerShell to set this configuration for such users. This procedure needs Azure AD Module for Windows PowerShell

  1. Launch Microsoft Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell

Run the following line and enter the Admin Credentials for your Office 365 tenant.

Connect-MsolService

2. Now let’s run the next line to set the PDL for a specific user.

Set-MsolUser -userprincipalName manoj@mantoso.onmicrosoft.com -PreferredDatalocation AUS

3. To find out if this has executed properly, you can use the following command. It should return the new PDL value.

(Get-MsolUser -userprincipalName manoj@mantoso.onmicrosoft.com).PreferredDatalocation

Notes: During the new user creation process, its recommended that you include setting PDL command at the end of the workflow, so that you do not have to do it as a separate task.

User with no OneDrive provisioned yet, better be wait for at least 24 hours in order to allow the change to propagate in the backend. This ensures that  OneDrive sites are provisioned in the correct PDL for such users.

Setting PDL for Synchronized users (Hybrid Users)

Setting the preferred data location for Hybrid users is a bit lengthy process and is well explained in this post.

Search Experience in a Multi-Geo Setup

Every geo location acts as a Search Index (you must be familiar with this term if you are a SharePoint guy) in a Multi-Geo setup. When there is a search query, the results are usually returned as a merged result out of all indexes, which means all these satellite locations we added are works together behind the scenes towards one goal.

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Following search clients are supported in Multi-Geo

  • OneDrive for Business
  • Delve
  • The SharePoint home page
  • The Search Center
  • Custom search applications that use the SharePoint Search API

Consult this detailed article to understand and configure the search experience in a Multi-Geo setup.

End user experience validation

Validation is utmost important before you roll out the change widely across the organization. Following are some key scenarios for you to try out using test users before make it to everyone.

OneDrive Portal

Click on to OneDrive from the Office 365 App Launcher. You should be directed to the defined geo location automatically, and it will now begin to provision the service in that PDL. After provisioning, try to upload and download some files and ensure everything works as expected.

OneDrive App

Use a mobile device to login to the OneDrive App using the test account that you used to upload the files and verify if the files are available in the mobile and you have to the control to perform actions on those files.

OneDrive Client

Use a laptop or a desktop to verify if the OneDrive Sync client works are expected. You can download the latest client by heading on to the OneDrive Library and click “Sync”. this will prompt you to download the client automatically if it doesn’t exists in the particular device.

Office Integration

Open up Word or Excel and check if your OneDrive location appears there. Try to save a file to OneDrive from there and ensure they are synchronized across your devices.

Sharing Experience

Despite any of these changes we did, you should be able to share a OneDrive file seamlessly (based on your compliance settings). To verify, try to share a file from OneDrive and confirm that the people picker allows you to add any user within the organization regardless of their location.

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